An ode to the place we once called home as we make ready to “Let go and let G_d(dess)” take us into our new life and adventure.
We moved into this lovely cottage in the Winter of 2002, Jan 1st actually. It was sleeting and of course very messy and cold. As soon as we walked in a peace and quiet settled over us as we gazed out to the water.
It always amazes me just how quiet it is here considering the proximity of BWI (20 min) Baltimore (20 min), and Severna Park/Annapolis (20 min). It’s one of the first thing visitors often comment on (once they get past oohing and awing at the view).
We added the rock garden off the front door. It has rocks, some shells and sand from all over the world gifted from various traveling friends. Israel, India, Egypt, Africa, Peru, Brazil, Hawaii, Arizona, are just a few places represented.
We also built the two raised beds which are all sitting upon the original cement slab that the builders of the house had installed. WE think that it works much better, looks better and acts as a buffer to the flow of water towards the creek.
In the Spring these beds are ablaze with color. First the daffodils and crocus emerge even as the world is all grey and snowy, next come the tulips in various shades of fuchsia and pink. The innocuous green ground cover is actually pink Phlox that bursts into pink abundance here, and in several other of the outdoor pots. The Wisteria on the archways of the privacy fencing, blooms next luscious globes of lavender and purple with a lovely smell. Other garden beds hold Forsythia, Tulip, Crocus, and Iris bulbs. There is even a heritage (it has an aroma) rose bush.
The tree above the gazebo is a fruiting Mulberry tree which attracts the deer who daintily nibble in the early morning and around dusk. The weeping cherry blooms after the forsythia and close to the wisteria. . The Hydrangea may bloom or not, and they are quite happily taking over the block wall to the road.
The raised beds in the yard we planted with vegetables and herbs, especially Tomatoes, Peppers, Beans, and squash. We occasionally planted a bed between the parking area and terraced wall. The bed closest to the water has an asparagus patch that while isn’t very large, is quite prolific. It also hosts an oregano patch that we let go to flower this year because the bees love it so much. FYI always leave one stalk of asparagus from each bunch growing when you harvest them so they will keep producing, or so I’ve read.
Later in the Summer the Magnolia tree bursts into aromatic flowers. The air is completely perfumed by them. As the summer wears on, the perennials need to be supplemented with annuals if you want color all year. Mums come up until August so adding a few small annuals to the pots adds a lot of beauty.
We have a lot of wildlife visitors, ducks nesting in one neighbor’s yard, the annual turtle visitation for egg laying at another’s. We have squirrels that examine us from the deck rail peering in through the large windows. A small herd of deer come by for the mulberries.
There are several pairs of Osprey, a nesting pair of Bald Eagles up the cove, and many geese (while cute, we shoo them off). We sometimes have a cute roly-poly groundhog, bunnies, and occasionally a fox. Always fun to watch from a distance.
We usually have participated with Restore Rock Creek, a local organization dedicated to protecting, maintaining, and restoring the creek who run an annual “Oysters Rock” program that partners with Spat (baby oysters) producers and enrolls the waterfront neighbors to maintain the ‘baby oysters’ in cages at the docks throughout the Fall and Winter. They teach you all that you need to know. They gather and release the ‘babies’ around Memorial Day each year.
Nearby we have some very good restaurants. Mike’s North is at the end of Colony Rd: Crabs, Bands, Large outdoor seating area to sip something cold and watch the sun go down. Primo Pasta, on Ft Smallwood Rd towards Baltimore, has spectacularly good Italian food. A fun, quirky little place also on Ft Smallwood Rd is the Stoney Creek Inn. It was purchased by a young couple a few years back and it is quite good. Sushi – our pick is the Szechuan Café, off Mountain Rd in the same shopping Center as Giant Food (one of four nearby grocery stores). For steaks and other seafood Two Rivers, a bit more elegant, might be your choice. There is a Starbucks in the local Safeway store, but breakfast spots include Cookies Kitchen (mobbed on the weekends), and Johnny’s also on Mountain Rd.
For such a tucked away location all the amenities you might need are quite close by. We have a local Ace Hardware (where the Safeway is), and Home Depot is just 10 minutes away. The Post Office is on Mt Road in between the two closest grocery stores. Zips Cleaners, 3 health clinics, and of course the YMCA (used to be known as Big Vanilla). There is also a sprawling Flea Market outdoors on the weekends on Mountain rd.
At the end of Ft Smallwood Rd we have Ft Smallwood Park with a kayak launch, swimming beach, boat launch (though if you join the Rock Creek Park Association you are eligible to buy a key to use the neighborhood boat launch), and lots of great walking trails. The views are spectacular of the Patapsco River, Key Bridge, and the Chesapeake Bay. Also nearby are Weinberg Park (a less developed park with many trails), and Downs Park with it’s own dog park and beach.
You can even watch the Wednesday night sailboat races from here, or sometimes see a tall ship go by.
Most of these pictures show the glories of the warmer weather, and it’s really cozy here in the Winter as well. We have heated with our wood stove insert quite a bit.
With the blown in insulation in the attic, we are quite snug and comfortable. The views can sometimes be even more dramatic with the silhouettes of boats and trees.
There is certainly a lot to love about our little retreat, and had life gone a bit differently we may have been here still. We hope that whoever takes over the stewardship of our lovely cottage will love it as much as we have. There is an old saying, “We never truly OWN anything, it’s all just rented.” That sentiment rings evermore true as I navigate the changes of my life. There is a well of deep gratitude for all that I have had the privilege to experience, hold, and “rent,” in this life of mine.
Onward to the next new adventure!